The Wayfinders

A year-long mentorship program for scholar-activists
to build liberatory bodies of work
while centering rest and joy.

The 2021 cohort for Wayfinders has begun.

scholar-activist

/ ˈskä-lər ak-ti-vist /
noun

One working within or beyond academia who bears witness to injustice and is committed to dismantling interlocking systems of oppression in our world.

We are scholar-activists and we create knowledge that transforms the world.

But the very oppressive systems we seek to dismantle are killing us.

Academia is structured through the imperialist white supremacist capitalist cis-heteropatriarchy. It dehumanizes us — denying our knowledge, truth, rest, and joy — while maintaining unsustainable cultures of individualism, violence, and overwork.

In the words of Audre Lorde,

“We were never meant to survive.”

Wayfinders is my vision for our survival, solidarity, and sovereignty.

Painting of two koi, one red and one orange, swimming together towards freedom

My mentorship program supports scholar-activists to generate liberatory bodies of knowledge and create social change.

It does this via a revolutionary feminist framework through which we decolonize our minds, develop solidaristic connections, and nurture radical self-care.

I wish for Wayfinders to serve as your place to be seen, to be heard, and to heal.

Let’s build our community and raise our collective power.

You do not have to compromise your principles, extinguish your health, or chase white able-bodied masculinist ideals.

Through our work together, you’ll follow your own North Star to develop an exquisitely meaningful body of work.

I’ll support you to bring forth any project you desire, whether that’s a book, a set of journal articles, or even a blog.

You’ll never hear me demand that you lean in, build resilience, or trade sleep for work.

We’re not here to play the game. We’re here to change the world.

The Program

Over our 12 months together we will meet across monthly one-on-one sessions and weekly intimate group sessions via Zoom.

I’ll support you to develop a defined body of work (whether that be a book, a set of journal articles, or anything else you desire).

We’ll develop a tailor-made plan to achieve your goals without sacrificing your body, heart, and soul at the altar of neoliberal capitalism.

wayfinders koi black

SEPTEMBER

Stella Polaris

We mark you joining the program with a 90-minute radical dreaming session where we’ll crystallize your vision for your scholar-activism and pinpoint the body of work you’ll be developing over our next year together.

OCTOBER

Care

We will begin decolonizing our minds and interrogate how cultures of oppression have shaped our work and our lives. We’ll build a plan for your liberatory project built around the non-negotiables of your rest and joy.

NOVEMBER

Creation

We will determine and defend your tiger time, reading time, and wild idling time and develop a concrete creation plan for your desired body of work.

DECEMBER

Grace

This season is a reminder to be kind to yourself. We will nurture our hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits and share strategies for surviving difficult times.

JANUARY

Flow

New year and new beginnings. This month will be all about kindling passion in our work and finding flow in creation.

FEBRUARY

Survival

Halfway through our voyage, let’s explore how to stay the course. We will discuss exploitation, harassment, and bullying in academia and how you may shield yourself against potential backlash to your scholarly activism.

Let us cast aside their oppressive ideologies and find our own way to truth.

MARCH — JULY

Generation

With the intellectual, analytical, and psychoemotional resources we have developed in collective, we wholeheartedly dive into the work. Over these five months, we will focus on generating our bodies of work, supported with virtual writing retreats and co-working sessions. We maintain our regular group mentorship meetings to address anything and everything that surfaces for you.

AUGUST

Home

Goodbyes are never easy. We will celebrate our time together with a closing ritual to envision your path ahead beyond our year together.

Here is everything you’ll receive…

  • 1 x 90-minute foundational one-on-one mentoring session to define your scholarly activist vision and the body of work you’ll be generating over the year-long mentorship program.
  • 11 x 60-minute one-on-one mentoring sessions throughout the rest of the year to progress your defined goals without compromising your values or extinguishing your health and wellbeing.
  • Weekly mentoring sessions with an intimate cohort of fellow scholar-activists who share and support your vision for justice.
  • Weekly co-writing sessions to drop in as you wish for warm company while you build your body of work.
  • Private gathering space hosted on Mighty Networks where you can get to know fellow members, share resources, seek feedback on questions and dilemmas in between mentoring sessions.
  • Private vault of training videos around research, writing, and publishing so that you can implement thoughtful and meaningful strategies while taking out the guesswork.
Painting of a black koi fish jumping with joy

This program is for…

01.

Academics driven by a vision for social justice who desire support in navigating the pitfalls of the Ivory Tower.

02.

Artists, writers, activists, healers, and leaders from all walks of life who seek to bring forth liberatory knowledge and remake the world.

03.

Scholar-activists with marginalized identities for whom the neoliberal discourse of ‘pulling yourself up by the bootstraps’ is particularly hollow.

04.

Those who yearn to find connection and purpose in their work, who wish for more than climbing the career ladder as quickly as possible.

I’m Dr Helena Liu (she/her)

I write and live on the unceded land of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, colonized as Sydney, Australia.

I was awarded my PhD in 2012 from the University of Sydney. My research critiques how gender, race, and class sustain our enduring romance with leadership. Over my career, I’ve published one book, 28 journal articles, 8 book chapters, and counting.

As your thought partner, I understand the value of intellectual rigor, editorial discernment, and intersectional feminist ethico-politics, and I’ll support you to cultivate all three in your work.

I’ll be a friend and confidante who deeply desires your survival and success, helping you navigate the pitfalls and challenges within the white patriarchal academy.

Helena Liu, the creator of this site and the Wayfinders mentorship program, stands in a forest in a coral dress ready to fight for social justice

Apply

The next cohort for Wayfinders will begin on September 10, 2022 with a commitment of US $1,200 per month for 12 months or $14,440 for the full year.

If you’re interested in being a part of the collective and would like to learn more, please sign up for the waitlist.

Over the next year, you’ll receive access to special information and bonuses as a thank you for expressing your interest early.

Your questions

You can think of this program as a blend between writing coaching, life coaching, career development, and having a loving friend fight for your flourishing along the way. I designed it to be the program I so desperately wished I had to navigate the turbulent waters of academia and dominator culture at large. Your investment resources me to provide the highest level of care and support to our collective. Each application will be carefully considered for fit with the program as well as the community. Places are capped at 8.

The program is a commitment of US $14,440 for the entire year or $1,200 per month for 12 months. If a longer payment plan would be more easeful for you, please do not hesitate to let me know. I do not charge a penalty for any of my payment plans. As an undercapitalized woman of color, I would also be grateful if you felt able to pay a larger proportion upfront.

Please note though that the full commitment is final and no refunds will be issued if you decide during the program not to continue. This is because I close enrolments after reaching capacity and nurture our intimate collective through the full year, which means I’m unable to replace your spot after the program begins.

I am in the process of redesigning reduced fee positions so that it is more sustainable.

In the meantime, please visit my blog and subscribe to my monthly newsletter to receive free content to support your scholar-activism.

If you would like to contribute to a mutual aid fund to support the participation of marginalized participants facing financial hardship, please get in touch with me at mail@disorient.co.

Not at all. While my experience as an academic makes me particularly well-versed in navigating this industry, I strongly believe that you don’t need formal education to be a scholar-activist. I’m here to support anyone who wants to generate liberatory knowledge and we can tailor what that knowledge looks like for you (whether that be a book, a course, or even a blog). I can tone down or ramp up my philosophical guidance as you need :).

This program is designed with an academic or rogue scholar in mind, in other words, someone who has already obtained a doctoral degree or seeks doctoral-level guidance on independent research. Our partnership helps you bring forth an aspirational project such as a book. I would not normally recommend this program for someone engaged in full-time study over the course of our year together.

While every doctoral journey is different, I believe the best time for a PhD candidate committed to joining Wayfinders is in your final year. The program container will provide you with the social support to design your postdoctoral research plan. The community will also be able to hold you as you transition through graduation, resourcing you in securing an academic position or exploring other places you could apply your gifts.

The call lets us get to know each other and for me to better understand your aspirations and needs. There’s no sales pitch or any kind of pressure to commit. My aim will be to learn more about you and your scholarly activist project, and discern whether or not I believe I can help you bring your idea to fruition. (If my calendar is not aligning with your availability, email me at mail@disorient.co and let me know some alternative times you’d prefer.)

Emailing me at mail@disorient.co will be the best way for us to discuss any and all questions you may have about the program. If either of us doesn’t feel we’re a good fit, I’ll do my best to refer you to other coaches or resources that I think will be helpful to you. I value each and every one of you and your kind interest in working with me. Please note that it may take me between a few days or a couple of weeks to get back to you as I currently run Wayfinders on my own alongside a full-time academic role. My response time is not a reflection of my respect for you or my excitement for working together.